EU accord shakes Serb coalition

Prime minister says Serbia is being asked to recognise Kosovo's independence.

    Tadic was re-elected after pledging to pursue EU membership whatever happens to Kosovo [File: EPA]

    On Monday, the EU formally authorised a 2,000-strong civilian mission to Kosovo.

    It also hopes to sign an accord with Serbia focusing on trade, visa and education issues on February 7.

    'Deception'

    "The EU's proposal to sign a political agreement with Serbia while at the same time sending a mission to break apart our state is a deception aimed at getting Serbia effectively to sign its agreement to Kosovo independence," Kostunica said on Tuesday.
       

    "The political agreement offered by the EU will be a test for the government's stability"


    Politika newspaper

    By putting its signature to the agreement, Serbia would "thus become the first state to indirectly recognise an independent Kosovo," he said.

    Serbian media said that the splits in the governing coalition would be difficult to heal.
       
    "The political agreement offered by the EU will be a test for the government's stability," the Politika newspaper said in an editorial.

    It quoted government sources as saying Kostunica's party could maybe be outvoted in the cabinet by Tadic's party and its allies, but if that was the case, the nine-month old coalition would not last and "general elections would be held soon".

    Kosovo has been under United Nations administration since 1999, when Nato forces pushed out Serb troops accused of killing civilians while fighting a brutal counter-insurgency war.

    Serbian ties

    Kostunica said Brussels would have to choose between ties with Serbia and support for Kosovo's Albanian majority.
       
    "This decision to send a mission means that the EU, together with the Albanian separatists, is creating a fictitious Albanian state on Serbian territory," he said.

    "Parliament must convene immediately."

    Tadic's Democratic Party and the allied G17+ have made it clear they are not prepared to back down on EU membership.
       
    "After the referendum confirmation of our country's European orientation, not a single party or politician can prevent what our citizens want and that is that we sign this agreement and join the EU as soon as possible," Bozidar Djelic, the deputy prime minister, said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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